Upgrade to Chess.com Premium!

Sicilian Sveshnikov

  • MikeRoesell
  • | Aug 21, 2009

         The Sicilian Sveshnikov variation is a increasingly popular line in the Sicilian Defense. Evegny Sveshnikov, who the variation is named after is a Russian Grand Master who was the main driving force in the development of the variation in the 1970's. He became an IM in 1975 and a GM in 1977.  He reached a peak rating of 2610 in January 1994 and now resides in Riga.  Since the 1970’s other GM’s, such as Kasparov, Kramnik and Leko, have joined him in the development and advancement of this interesting opening.  I enjoy the variation because of the imbalance of the position and the relative newness of the entire line.  This gives me an advantage because many people don’t know the theory or rational for the line.

            The Variation begins 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6.  If the player with the black pieces doesn’t play 6…d6 then the reply is 7.Nd6+, which has worked out very well for White in both tournaments and practice.  After 6…d6 the Sveshnikov continues 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5. This is the beginning setup for the Sveshnikov line. 9.Bxf6 gxf6. 9…Qxf6 isn’t good because it allows Nd5 attacking the Queen forcing Black to move his Lady to a poor square or retreat and lose some tempi. 10.Nd5 attacking the f6 pawn.  10…f5, here I like to play 10.Bd3, which backing up the pawn.  Another possible move is c3, which I’ll show as well.  The first game is Shirov-Grischuk 2003.

        The next game that I found was played by one of the top players in chess history, Garry Kasparov.  This game features the move 11.c3 which is a trap in and of itself but it is a commonly known and avoided one. But without further ado Svidler-Kasparov.

       The final game that I have is a tribute to the main advocate of this opening, Evgeny Sveshnikov.  This is the exf5 line that I won’t make any comments. However even though this game was drawn you can see that there is poison on both sides of the board.

        Thanks for the read. Sorry for having to republish this but I noticed that I had a couple errors in my last publication and it needed to be re-written. Thanks again and please leave comments for me.


  • 14 months ago


    What is the ECO? I can't seem to find it to set up this opening for a chess.com tournament/match/vote chess.

  • 23 months ago


    the complete sveshnikov by yuri yakovich is a good book to start with

  • 24 months ago


    Nice article...tks

  • 5 years ago


    ok thx

  • 5 years ago


    Hey anashar the from what I can see of the position from my limited view point the reason for not playing Bxf7+ right away is because Svidler wants to take away the Bishop pair from Kasparov.  Kasparov is a very dynamic and attacking player and the way to beat him is to force him to not play that way. Kramnik did this in their world champ. maches by playing the berlin defense of the ruy lopez and exchanging queens, but I digress. 

    Svidler is a GM 2700+ player and im a 1600 player.  I don't pretend to know exactly what is going through his head but I can tell you that two bishops in a game with pawns on both sides of the board is an advantage because they have the distance and can cover the pawns literally from across the board. When you are playing Kasparov you need all the help you can get anyway.  Sorry for the tangent to start with but I hope that this answers your question

  • 5 years ago


    In Peter Svidler (2739) vs. Garry Kasparov (2812) can someone please tell me why white didn't play 22.Bxf7...  ?

    Thanks in advance

  • 6 years ago


    I like this variation and playing this with Black. thanks for information.

  • 6 years ago


    @ripper yep you're totally correct.  lol. Overlooked that one

  • 6 years ago


    great article and games thanks for sharing

  • 6 years ago


    In the diagram that is in the comments section the last variation suggests 11.f3 but instead White can capture the queen with check and after that he can take the bishop.

  • 6 years ago


    I really enjoyed playing through these games. I will be employing this variation as part of my arsenal. Thanks!

  • 6 years ago


    @Gavriil24 I'm not sure what you mean when you said play c3 instead of d4.



    If you want to simplify the amount of theory that you need to learn take a gander into the Checkhover variation of the Sicilian, The Rossolimo variation and the Moscow variation.  I have published a couple articles on the Checkhover and one on the Rossolimo and im working on one for the Moscow, but its not finished yet, sorry.
  • 6 years ago


    Play c3 instead of d4

  • 6 years ago


    i love this variation but the move 9......gxf6,enlighnten me as to why Qxf6 is not played.

  • 6 years ago


    I love to play sicilian and I like this variation coz its quite aggressive and daring. I need to study more on this. Thanks for sharing this theory.

  • 6 years ago


    I played some games with White agaisnt this variation because I'm a player who plays 1. e4. I need to study a lot of theory. Can you give me any advise? Some books to read for example.

Back to Top

Post your reply: